Posts Tagged ‘Midwest’

Performed January 3, 2016 at Front/Space in Kansas City, Missouri

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Today Adam Werven, otherwise known as Larry Wish, celebrates his 27th birthday. I like to imagine him in his Minneapolis apartment, bundled up in a rainbow afghan, eagerly awaiting a special birthday hotdish. In reality he’s writing grants and preparing for a standup comedy show, but three days prior he performed his last show of a two and a half week tour at Kansas City’s cozy (small) storefront arts venue, Front/Space. This gig marked Larry Wish‘s first appearance in Kansas City. He was supported by tourmate and friend Ray Jackson, or The Grow Fangs.

Both Werven and Jackson performed solo to a full house (that translates to about 35 or 40 bodies given the size of the space). The Grow Fangs followed the jangle-pop dance hall of supporting, local openers Toad Tartare with about 25 short, cheeky, high-energy punk rock tunes. He played on a guitar shaped like a shark through a borrowed amplifier and delivered screaming vocals that were equally impressive and amusing.

Larry Wish also had a minimal setup which strung an auxiliary cable from the PA to his boombox which contained the night’s set burned onto a CD. Wish was very animated. He mounted cinder blocks, wore them as shoes and meandered futilely about the performance area. He played air guitar, air drums, air saxophone, air everything while gesticulating wildly.

Wish‘s music utilizes pop, prog and compositional influences, features programmed or live drums and plenty of direct input and digital overdubbing. He sings, or rather, belts his vocals within a rich baritone register. The outcomes are both epic and whimsical, sincere yet playful. With proclamations like, “I just forget myself sometimes,” it’s hard to resist the notion that Werven is showing vulnerability.

For every few tracks of original material performed there was a karaoke cover of another. Typically these were slowed down versions of nineties grunge hits such as Nirvana‘s “In Bloom” or Pearl Jams‘ “Even Flow,” a combination of Werven’s 90’s adolescence and more recent love of Vaporwave. One such selection, however, was a cover of Donna Summer’s disco classic I Feel Love.” This latter song, as well as several others from the set, is taken from Wish‘s newest recording Born Outside My Window, released last October by Orange Milk Records.

Also represented by Orange Milk Records is Kansas City resident Scammers, or Phil Diamond. Diamond was billed to play with Larry Wish and The Grow Fangs, but cancelled late due to a sudden dental emergency. It would have been the first time the labelmates had met in person.

While his newest recording is a worthy listen, Werven is prolific. His bandcamp page holds over 50 recordings from over half a dozen projects dating back to 2007. While the lion’s share of these offerings fall under the Larry Wish moniker, many others are attributed to OcturbomangoSleeves and Used Condo (which has a cassette coming out by the end of the week on the Suite 309 label).

The recordings also vary greatly in approach. One recording titled TACE BEEL: TACE THE BEEL consists of empty, yet titled, tracks.”I did half the work, now the listener needs to do the other half and come up with the music.” said Werven in interview, comically suggesting that titling is half the job in song writing.

Some recordings are wholly digital creations while others are more traditional studio recordings. Throughout these works Werven’s primary concerned rests with creating something that feels right or appropriate for the recording rather than emulate a style or enter a particular school of thought.

Werven and Jackson’s tour carried them as far as Gainesville, Florida, and spanned two major holidays; Christmas and New Year’s. When asked why they decided to tour through the holiday season, when many people are indisposed spending time with family and friends, Werven stated it was more convenient because he had winter break from school. Unfortunately this also meant that neither Jackson or Werven’s bands could tour with them. Undaunted, the pair took the opportunity to visit friends and celebrated their holidays on the road.

Their final payout at the Front/Space gig was decent, more than enough to cover their six-plus-hour drive back to Minneapolis the next day. When I asked Werven if their income had been good during the entirety of the tour, he said it had been, but that he also wasn’t too concerned. Before they embarked he had taken out a small student loan to cover expenses, a technique he’s used in the past to make recordings and put out physical releases. I feel that anecdote epitomizes the attitude of many do it yourself musicians today, that is, cheerful and reckless.

Happy Birthday Adam. Cheers to you and recklessness.

-AWE

 

Listen to Larry Wish’s set now with the embed below

Or listen to Larry Wish‘s set later, with tracks titled and separated, by clicking the mediafire link below

https://www.mediafire.com/folder/gc78xrfnf2yn2/Larry_Wish

 

Setlist for Larry Wish

1. Yeah, Soon the Birds Will Wake Me Up Somewhere in the Vaseline [Used Condo]; intro

2. On One More Condition (:30)

3. Even Flow [Pearl Jam]; interlude (5:05)

4. Ubduction Redundant (5:27)

5. In Bloom [Nirvana]; interlude (10:49)

6. Unsound/Touched (11:20)

7. I Feel Love [Summer, Moroder, Bellotte] (14:08)

8. Man In the Box [Alice In Chains]; interlude (17:08)

9. Your Face [Maureen McElheron] (17:46)

10. Up-to-Me Books (20:08)

11. Been Caught Stealing [Jane’s Addiction]; outro

 

Click the link below to hear more music by Larry Wish

http://larrywish.bandcamp.com/

 

Click the link below to hear more music from Orange Milk

http://www.orangemilkrecords.com/

 

Click the link below to listen to The Grow Fangs

https://thegrowfangs.bandcamp.com/

 

Click the link below for more events from Front/Space

https://www.facebook.com/FrontSpaceKC/


Thanks to Adam Werven, Ray Jackson, Madeline Gallucci, Kendall Harbin, and Ian Teeple for making this show possible. Thanks to everyone that came and bought merchandise and paid door cover, you keep the dream alive. If you weren’t able to make it you can show your support by visiting Larry’s Bandcamp and buying something for goodness sakes. If you like this blog then kindly share it, subscribe to it, leave some comments, and keep reading. You can also like and follow the facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/bigurges, for more bonus material. Cheers!

Performed August 12, 2013 at The Middle East In Kansas City,  Missouri

Silence Dogood 8/12/13, Photo by Andrew Erdrich

Silence Dogood 8/12/13, Photo by Andrew Erdrich

Naming your band after an alias of Benjamin Franklin is an overt gesture in proclaiming your love of literature. Composing a song based off a short story by Mark Twain may be borderline obsessive. While waxing literary fixation, Silence Dogood deliver their sermons in the church built to the 90’s alternative rock gods, and, like any good zealot, they practice what they preach. As such, their music is lyrically driven and follows a straight forward lineup. This prolific three piece is composed of Nick Erickson on drums, Matt Bullock on bass, and Cameron Mahoney the guitarist and singer/songwriter.

Silence Dogood toured from the upper peninsula of Michigan with Sycamore Smith & The Gray Beast. Their local destination, The Middle East, is a basement venue deep in the east side of Kansas City on 59th and Spruce within an ever-expanding compound of rehab houses. Landlord John Larson (also known by his stage name Mosquito Bandito) has been buying up cheap, neglected properties in the area and reconditioning them, seemingly just for amusement. John himself is also a Michigan transplant and has become somewhat of a conduit between KCMO and UPMI, hence the Michigan musicians.

While many people showed for the opener Scammers, most left by the time Silence Dogood kicked off. This attendance drop was arguably exacerbated by eleven minutes of downtime following the first song as Mahoney changed out a broken string (this downtime has been edited from the recording). However, the reason why so few may have remained in attendance may be because the Middle East tends to be a hot bed for some fairly gritty punk shows, and Silence Dogood may not have been the best fit for such a crowd.

-AWE

EDITOR’S NOTES: Since the publication of this review, Silence Dogood asked me to remove the post. As a compromise I removed their music which I had recorded and linked, but kept my review. The music belongs to them, however, my opinion about their concert belongs to me.

Set list for Silence Dogood

1. Wonder Years

2. Paradise City (3:02)

3. Granola Kids (5:30)

4. School Is Out Forever (8:10)

5. Don’t Stop Believing (10:31)

6. Endless Bummer (14:56)

If you enjoy this blog, then subscribe, leave comments, share it with your friends, and keep reading. Thanks!

Performed July 2, 2013 at The Replay Lounge in Lawrence, Kansas

CS Luxem 7/2/13, Photo by Andrew Erdrich

CS Luxem 7/2/13, Photo by Andrew Erdrich

The Replay Lounge is notorious for sending bands home with a big payout. It’s not uncommon for performers to leave the bar a couple hundred dollars in the black. Paradoxically it seems these bands are still playing to a sparsely populated audience. Given the payout one may reasonably ask, “Where are all the people?”

Typically all the people who have bolstered your band fund are actually hanging out on the back patio, smoking cigarettes, and listening to DJ Whoever. These strange, profitable nights can be credited to one thing; the University of Kansas.

During the school year KU bolsters Lawrence’s population by 26,000 or more people. All it takes is a couple hundred Jayhawk coeds to fork over three bucks and you’re set for the month. Since it’s scientifically impossible to prevent a state school student from going out to the bars on the weekend, a band simply needs to book a show on a Friday or Saturday during the school year, show up to perform for 15 or so people, and drink their three free pitchers (that’s right THREE).

Kansas City bands have been using this formula for years, and it seems to work without fail. Still, wouldn’t it be nice to actually perform for someone besides the bartenders, the sound guy, and their friends?

That’s exactly what happened last Tuesday when CS Luxem and OILS performed their tour kickoff supported by Sneaky Creeps. Inside were roughly 40 tweens and on the back porch was movie night.  It’s safe to assume most of the two hundred-odd dollars split between the three bands didn’t come from the pockets of moviegoers. The recognition lays with the pulling power of Lawrence natives, CS Luxem and OILS who have now proven to me that you don’t need KU to have a good night at Replay Lounge.

A central figure of the two Lawrence bands is Christopher Luxem.  Not only is he the creative mind behind CS Luxem, but he’s also pulling double duty providing backing vocals for OILS, as well as collaborating with fellow Lawrencians Karma Vision.  After performing a couple songs solo as CS Luxem, Chris was joined by Andrew Frederick (backing vocals and bass) and Mark Osman (drums) from OILS.  The addition of real performers in place of loops/backing tracks I had heard in the past was refreshing, and brought more tactility to the performance. Looping, Chris’s specialty, was still present through his vocals and guitar work, but this time there was something more beefy to back it up.

OILS forewent the stage in lieu of the floor, a very “punk” thing to do, but it really made a difference in terms of creating a better connection with an audience. Fortunately their mix did not seem to suffer from the relocation. In OILS, Andrew Frederick took center stage and guitar duties, while Osman played drums, Chris had backing vocals/loops, and Taryn Miller (who performs independently as Y(our) Fri(end)) tackled bass duties.

Despite their incestuous relationship and a surplus of “Oohing and aahing,” both groups managed to maintain a distinct sound. CS Luxem’s set built on a gradual crescendo. OILS on the other hand was markedly more psychedelic as they rolled through one five minute jam into another. The best part is felt for the first time as if I was actually at a real Lawrence show, surrounded by Lawrence people. I’m hoping to see more of it in the future.

As mentioned earlier, both groups will be on tour for the next month, so cheers and best of luck to them. I’m sure they’ll do just fine, but just in case send them your love and well wishes.

-AWE

Listen to CS Luxem’s set now with the embed below (28:00)

CS Luxem 7/2/13

Listen to CS Luxem’s set later, with tracks already separated, with the mediafire link below

http://www.mediafire.com/folder/5dbd15h6ba6l9/CS_Luxem

Set list for CS Luxem

1. Tree Swing

2. Looking For (7:05)

3. Summertime Is Here (14:25)

4. With the Dogs (18:55)

5. Born Down Bobby (24:28)

For more CS Luxem visit his website through the link below

http://csluxem.info/

Listen to OILS set now with the embed below (40:28)

OILS 7/2/13

Listen to OILS set later, with tracks already separated, with the mediafire link below

http://www.mediafire.com/folder/7603fguak1u3a/OILS

Set list for OILS

1. Duck

2. Big Bear (4:24)

3. The Town (9:53)

4. Rain (16:58)

5. Fly Us To The Sun (24:21)

6. Deep End Part II (32:23)

7. My Own Eyes (38:09)

To stay up with OILS visit their facebook page through the link below

https://www.facebook.com/oilstheband

This music was recorded with the permission of the performers. If you enjoy it then show it by supporting them, and if you enjoy this blog then subscribe.

Performed May 14, 2013 at Micheal’s Loft, Kansas City, MO

Photo By Mary O'Brien

Photo By Mary O’Brien

Photo By Brock Hildebrandt

Photo By Brock Hildebrandt

Outside World  are a lo-fi, DIY trio from Chicago. The band features Ben Scott (Guitar and Vocals), Hazel Rigby (Bass and Vocals), and Evan Jenkins (Drums). Their music combines elements of psych, rock, noise, pop and sheer loudness. Their couple of self-released tape recordings (Outside World and Seaside Nowhere, both 2012) don’t seem to quite capture the relentless groove in Major they bring to their live show, but at least you can hear the vocals. Both times I’ve seen Outside World their PA setups didn’t stand a chance once they blew up the space with their stage volume. Personally I’d take the rawness of their live show to their (by comparison) somewhat restrained recorded offerings. For this particular occasion they performed in my friend Micheal’s loft apartment in the Crossroads district of KCMO. Kansas City’s own Wanin’ Peppa’ and Dated opened. Outside World started around quarter to 11 and played a rock solid half hour of music to about 40 people. I felt as though a good number of the songs seemed familiar from their last visit, but upon cross-checking their set list with their available recordings most of them seem new and off the market. This leads me to believe a new recording is imminent. As a side note I noticed their live set didn’t seem to contain anything like their slower, quiter tracks (such as Seems So True or You May Think) which may be a direct attempt to keep the crowd energy up. Hopefully KC makes them feel welcome enough to come back and play another. I know I’d like to see them again.

-AWE

Listen now with the below embed (32:51)

Listen later with tracks already separated with the mediafire download below

http://www.mediafire.com/?5inyijza4oc71

Track List

1. “Fills”

2. All Day – at 3:55

3. Outside World – at 7:51

4. “Center” – at 13:18

5. “Flying” – at 16:44

6. “Inside” – at 19:36

7. “Due” – at 24:06

8. “Stain” – at 27:00

For more check out these links below:

Outside World’s Facebook

Outside World’s Bandcamp
These recordings were recorded and posted with permission from the band members of Outside World, because they’re clearly cool dudes.